Written by Ann Vanture
The key to good printies
is in the paper they're printed on. Place a printie
printed on typical copier paper next to a printie done
on specialty inkjet paper and the contrast will astound
you. You will notice fuller vibrant colors, crisper
lines and readable text. It is well worth the investment
of $.05-$.25 per sheet—think of all the time you invest
into making printies!
To find what papers are
best suited for your particular printer, do an internet
search for specialty paper made by the printer's
manufacturer. Paper weight/thickness will impact how
parts fold and fit together. Heavy weight/thick paper
like cardstock weight works well for girl doll scale
(1:3), but not for the smaller scales, i.e., 1:6 and
1:12 scales. Purchase a sample pack of assorted papers
in order to do some trial printing.
When you go
to print printies, make sure that you have selected the
highest quality print settings found in your particular
printer's print dialog box. Yes it does use a little
more ink this way, but why be a penny wise and pound
foolish?! If your print has white bands running through
it where the ink did not spray, do not immediately think
you need to change that expensive cartridge. Read the
printer manual and find out how to clear the print
heads. You can imagine that any spray hole that tiny is
bound to get clogged now and again. Sometimes you may
need to run the “clear” more than once, but do not use
this unless you absolutely have to because it does use
Because my printers' ink is moisture
resistant, there's no need to use any type of clear coat
prior to cutting a pre-printed Paper Minis kit. However,
for the project you print, test it for water-resistance.
If it is not water-resistant you will want to spray with
clear coating. You must test this first, for some
printers' ink will not accept even spray clear coating.
Try using clear polyurethane spray paint very lightly in
several light coats. It works great and can be found
wherever hardware and paint is sold. Prices range
approximately $1-$5. Again, test this first before
spraying something of value.
Cutting quality is
just about as important as paper and print quality.
Those tiny little detailing scissor (the kind Grandma
kept in her sewing basket for cutting embroidery floss)
and an X-acto knife are the best cutting tools. Don't
scrimp on the blades! Change a blade at the first sign
of dullness. I bought a Nicole Cutting Mat (9"x12") at
the sewing store—what a great $9 investment! It gives me
smoother cuts and the X-acto blades last so much longer.
Cardboard cutting mats tend to shred a printie’s edges
and dull a blade very quickly. Have trouble seeing those
little parts? Get a pair of magnifying glasses at the
drug store and a bright tensor desk lamp.
folds on printies must be crisp and straight. To help,
use the edge of a short metal ruler. A cork-backed
Westcott metal ruler, for example, is a nice thin-edged
ruler. Line-up the printie fold with one hand against
the ruler's edge and press to crease with the other
hand. See the tutorial titled
Box for further instruction.
final stage of printie-making is the glue process. For
typical gluing I advise a fast-grab, quick-dry,
dries-clear craft glue such as Nicole Super Tacky Glue
for Crafts and Hobbies. But any brand with that
descriptor on the label will most likely do. However,
beware of soupy typical craft white glue. Use little
artists' brushes to apply the glue. Just squirt a little
glue on a piece of waxed paper or aluminum foil from
which to work. Keep a little glass of water handy to
temporarily store paint brushes...but not too long for
the bristles will permanently bend.
and sealing glued surfaces, I have found that a pair of
tweezers, cotton swab and eraser end of a pencil work
great and are with me at all times. For forming
cylindrical items, accumulate a collection of wood
dowels of different circumferences and form the curved
items against the appropriate dowel.
surfaced items such as those that are laminated, I
suggest using Quick Grip All-Purpose Permanent Adhesive
or plastic cement--like clear model airplane glue. Fresh
glue sticks better than old bulbous plastic cement.
Scruff up the laminated tab’s surface with a fine grit
sandpaper. The glue will stick much better.